The world has changed in 2020 due to Covid-19. The hardest hit by this crisis has been restaurants, travel and retailers. Thank you for supporting us and all small businesses in your local community. As part of our purpose of offering high quality shoes we have started exploring sustainable materials. This is the first of a 4 part series on sustainable and slow fashion, a subject Andrew is passionate about.
The new normal is fast fashion
The world of fashion and shoes has recently transformed. Ten to twenty years ago fashion brands would release new collections annually on a seasonal basis. Fast forward to today collections are released fortnightly this has become the new normal, companies like Zara, H&M and Forever 21 are pioneers of what we now call fast fashion.
In Australia fast fashion has grown into a 2 billion dollar per year industry. A report by YouGov found that 75% of Adults have thrown away clothes in the last year. Waste from the fashion industry is a serious problem. source
Shoes today are designed to be thrown away within 1-2 years. Before fast fashion and low cost developing world manufacture, shoes were a valuable purchase which with good care could stay with you for a lifetime. There was a shoemaker in every suburb and they were able to polish and repair your favourite pair bringing them back to life all the way up to replacing an entire sole and heel. Shoes were built to be repaired and they were meant to accompany us for a long time, sadly, for the shoemaker and the environment, things have changed.
The solution: sustainable and slow fashion
Slow fashion is a movement based on the idea that clothes are meant to last. This simple idea comes from the sustainable fashion movement and it involves not just the producer but the consumer committing to the ideal that the longevity and quality of a product is its most important feature. The slow fashion consumer seeks out high quality products that last because keeping an item for years rather than months reduces waste and damage to the environment. On the producer side - quality materials and sturdy production methods are used to produce products that have long lifetimes.
Repair and maintenance are part of the slow fashion cycle. Take for example the sneaker: if you wear them out they are no longer usable you cannot repair and the solution is to throw them away and replace with the next latest model sneaker . Artisan made shoes, are designed to be repaired and looked after for years. With regular polishes and maintenance there is no reason a pair of shoes can’t last a decade.
Artisan made shoes are more expensive but if you calculate cost based on usage they become more affordable than a pair of cheaper shoes due to their longevity. Being conscious of our purchasing and disposal decisions and moving away from our planned obsolescence attitude to fashion will help us build a better planet.
Watch out for part 2 in the series which compares the pros and cons of artisan made footwear with mass produced footwear.